AFRICA – Participants at the G20 Compact with Africa Conference, which featured heads of states in Africa and multilateral leaders, have committed to ensuring Africa’s post-pandemic recovery through private sector development and vaccine manufacturing.

The Compact with Africa is a G20 initiative that promotes macroeconomic, business and financing reforms to attract more private investment in Africa.

The African Development Bank said this in a statement titled ‘G20 Compact with Africa reaffirms commitment to securing Africa’s recovery from Covid-19 pandemic through private sector development and vaccine manufacturing’.

The conference brought together heads of state of the 12 Compact members and institutional partners, including the African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

It involved strategy discussions around attracting higher inflows of foreign direct investment to Africa and the urgent imperative to develop vaccine manufacture capability on the African continent. Securing the continent’s recovery from the impacts of Covid-19 is one of the Compact’s near-term objectives.

The participants discussed the issue of vaccine inequity, emphasizing the need for closer international cooperation to address certain critical issues, such as climate change, debt levels and investment shortfalls.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa emphasized that, “Africa will not be able to recover until Africans are vaccinated.” President Emmanuel Macron said France had committed to providing $10 million vaccine doses for Africa.

African leaders expressed consensus on the need for vaccine self-sufficiency as a longer-term solution. President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana said there should have been lessons learned from Ebola. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen drew attention to the initiative to develop mRNA technology in Africa across different regional hubs.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said the African Development Bank had committed to investing US$5 billion to support vaccine manufacturing across Africa, while World Bank President David Malpass highlighted vaccine financing programs set up in 54 countries, noting that more than half of these are in Africa.

Other constraints discussed included rising levels of debt and restricted fiscal space resulting from the pandemic. “The reduction of liquidity,” hit us hard,” said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Although Ghana sustained growth through 2020, President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that national debt had risen to 77.1% of GDP.

The Conference also included a follow-up session that focused on how to overcome economic, skills and intellectual property constraints to developing domestic mRNA vaccine manufacture across Africa.

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